Their Care, Their Way

With donor support already improving patient rehabilitation facilities at the IWK, practitioners like Dr. Jordan Sheriko are changing the way rehabilitation services are offered to patients.

Dr. Sheriko joined the IWK as the first-ever Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist, Medical Director, Rehabilitation Services last July.

Previously, rehabilitation clinics were organized by diagnosis, where patients with the same condition were treated together. Under Dr. Sheriko’s leadership, clinics focus on the functional goals of the patients.

“We recognize that we need to shift the focus of our interventions so that they are aligned with the patient’s goals. Patients are more engaged and that likely translates to better outcomes. It is about maximizing our patient’s function and that’s not disease specific,” says Dr. Sheriko.

This method is a shining example of what it means to provide patient and familiy-centred care and puts the focus on the whole child by putting their personal goals first.

Clinics now focus on goals like improving mobility or muscle tone. This helps to expel the myth that a diagnosis defines a patient.

Gregor's Story

In the first year of his life, Gregor Gillis was diagnosed with Down syndrome, Juvenile diabetes and experienced kidney failure.

When he was 18 months old, Gregor was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He received chemotherapy for three and a half years and spent almost a year living in the IWK’s inpatient oncology unit.

As a result of his Down syndrome, Gregor was delayed in gross and fine motor development. However, after his first year of chemotherapy, the skills he had learned regressed significantly and he couldn’t sit up on his own or even roll over. In addition, the combination of his health conditions and treatment resulted in him developing osteoporosis.

Doctors told his mother Melanie that he may never walk.

Rehabilitation clinics at the IWK place the attention on meeting the patient at their challenge and helping them to fulfill their personal goal and reach their full potential.

The rehabilitation team at the IWK became very important to Gregor’s care. He worked with many teams, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy. He spent time in a stander to teach him the sensation of standing, and in 2015, at 7 years of age, Gregor took his first steps.

Thanks to all the support he’s received from the different care teams at the IWK, Gregor is thriving! Now, Melanie has stopped taking his wheelchair with the family when they go places. Gregor is a social, happy and rambunctious little boy who loves school. He continues to visit the IWK for long-term follow-up care.


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IWK Health Centre Charitable Foundation Charitable Number: 867558090RR0001